Camp Mont Shenandoah part of personal and county histories

Just a couple of weeks ago, a large group of young women and girls in Millboro Springs participated in the unveiling of a historical marker describing their Camp Mont Shenandoah. The parents of a first year camper, Glenn, were here for the ceremony. Tucker Carrington, son of past Director Bill Carrington shared some of his memories of the camp, and also reflected on why it’s important for him and his family to take some respite in these mountains.

“My wife Desiree Hensley and I live in Oxford, Mississippi and we both teach at the University of Mississippi School of Law. And we tech regular classes, but we also teach in legal clinics meaning that we have a caseload, and our students help us in the small legal clinic offices. Desiree runs a low income and a policy clinic doing work on behalf of elderly folks, and I’m a criminal defense attorney. I direct the Innocence Project at the Law School. We represent prisoners who are serving lengthy periods of incarceration, who have meritorious claims of innocence, and we litigate their claims of innocence on their behalf.”

Tucker’s father had a long history with a camp for boys in Rockbridge Baths as a camper, and than as a counselor.

My father went to Camp Maxwelton, since, I would say since the late forties.

Then he had some years in college, and the Naval Reserves.

Tucker Carrington,

I was born in 1965, and I spent my first summer at Maxwelton.

Sometime that year, my parents along with several other folks including Sis and Harry Warner who live in Lexington, together bought Mont Shenandoah. So the summer of 1966 was their first summer as owners. And my parents ran the camp. Dad was the director. Mimi Knight, who lives outside of Lexington, was the program director, and they ran it until they sold it in 1996 or 97 to Anne Warner who is Sis and Harry’s daughter.

Now, as a first-time parent of a camper, Tucker remembers answering the phone at Camp as a young person on the staff.

“It would be some mother frantic, about what I thought was the most ridiculous concern. And now I really want to apologize to all those parents, because I spent the better part of my days looking at my watch thinking, ‘It’s kind of chilly to be getting in the river today. Or you know, there’s a thunderstorm coming; I hope Glenn’s inside. Anyway, so to all the parents who called, and did not get the most gracious reception from me, I apologize.”

I asked Tucker what he thinks summer camps may mean to this part of the state, and wondered how campers’ experiences reach past their years here.

“One of the things that is interesting about that pocket of Bath County is all of the camps that are there. You know, Wallawatoola was there, across the river for decades.   Mont Shenandoah has been there; this is its ninetieth year. Camp Accovac, closer towards Goshen, Nimrod Hall, which is not a camp exactly, but in a way is, and now the new camp Virginia.

I think there are generations of people who, a lot of them are Virginians, but not all,

Who know Bath County, sort of one of the more isolated counties in the state, Highland too, in the country for that matter, and they have lived here for a month or six weeks, and it’s hard to maybe quantify what that might mean for a place like Bath County, but I think it definitely means something, because there are people around the country who know that little pocket of Virginia, and they think it’s beautiful, and meaningful to them. It’s certainly meaningful to the people who live here year ‘round, who are stewards of the land and the river, and one of the ways I’ve always thought about it is –there are these allies all over the place, outside of Bath who appreciate and understand what this place means.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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